The Relation of Merleau-Ponty and Blanchot to Derrida

Chung Chin-Yi


In this paper I examine the negative phenomenologies of Merleau-Ponty and
Blanchot. Negative phenomenologies repress difference as the transcendental
and the empirical are repetitions of the same through iterability. I argue that
a negative phenomenology or a reversal of phenomenology repeats it rather
than managing to escape from it. This is because it still proceeds within its
metaphysical vocabulary and ontological structure. Thus, Merleau-Ponty and
Blanchot, in inverting and reversing phenomenology, only repeat it by
borrowing entirely from its metaphysical vocabulary and structure. Derrida’s
phenomenology in place, is a meta-phenomenology in discovering the origin
of phenomenology as difference, or the difference between philosophy and
non-philosophy, transcendental and empirical. Derrida discovers the
condition of possibility for phenomenology as quasi-transcendental, or the
interval between the transcendental and empirical which conditions
phenomenology in its entirety. The transcendental and empirical are
paradoxically identical and non-identical because the difference translates
into sameness.

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